How 2 Chisel Yourself Into A New Person

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You’re problem solving skills for life is useless. But, you’re stubborn. How can this be? “I’ve always done it this way. I’m not at fault. It’s my family. It’s the pastor. It’s technology. It’s the government.  It’s the media.” Then five years later, you realize that it’s YOU. You had an epiphany and now realize that you’re the cause of your problems. Perhaps you allowed people to exploit your weaknesses for their gains and not yours. These weaknesses affected your interactions with others  and resulted in unwanted and negative outcomes. But, if you reframe these experiences you will recognize that positive feedback is encased in the negativity to help steer the mind into a positive direction that would afford you love, peace, and prosperity.

Let me give you a few examples that you may relate to. It’s hard for you to get to the point quickly and effectively. The manager never promotes you, but hires a colleague who speaks with a powerful voice of certainty and he/she takes decisive action in company matters; your mother manipulates you with the silent treatment and a range of passive aggressive behavior to get you to yield to her demands. Your haircut is predictable and has been this way since you were in college. Why experiment with a new hairstyle?  What if the new cut makes you look wack? Your head looks too big? Your friends might not like the style? What if you have to abandon your long time barber to get one who’s competent in the hairstyle?

We all get to this point in life. Will you be the same ol person or someone new?

Here are five tips to chisel yourself into a new person.

WARNING THIS ISN’T FOR THE OMNISCIENT!!!

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1. Read– The information you gather from family is limited and typically fear based. It keeps you in a state of stagnation because of the disempowering messages you receive. They can’t achieve, so they want you to be a loser as well. So they’ll tend to focus on what can’t be done and say the all important hackneyed expression ‘it can only be done this way’. Look at their lives and see if their advice has lead them to success. If not, then toss it. Their existence is based on complaining and blaming. Read books to stimulate the mind and help transform you into a solution oriented person. Indulge in a vastness of books. The stories, concepts, and ideas will push your mental horizon into prosperity and give you the opportunity to assimilate these ideas to form a new way of thinking.

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2. Think Like A Scientist– You must continue to experiment with life. Think of new ways to reach an intended result. The first few solutions may be duds, but keep going. Don’t give up. Remove or add behaviors that have led to past success or failure.  If you’re too stressed or tired to think of beneficial or detrimental conduct that has affected you, then take a nap. Sleeping solves problems. Still, you can incorporate other people’s knowledge with yours. Sometimes their vital piece of information is what you needed to succeed.

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3. Disengage From Poisonous Foods– Eat as many fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats that you can. A balanced diet equals a balanced mind. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan focus on meatless alternatives such as fish. I recommend doing your own research to find the best option. Stay away from processed foods, fast foods, cookies, potato chips and candies. These foods contribute to obesity and an unhealthy mindset. When was the last time you felt great after you ate junk food? Ok, you might get a brief surge of energy, but then your sugar level crashes. Healthy foods can sustain you for longer periods and beautifies the hair, skin and nails which makes you sexier.  It’s not easy, but you can do it.

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4. Visualize and Write– List everything you want. Remember IT’S WHAT YOU WANT. Not anyone else. Life doesn’t have a reset button. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s always something that makes you smile. You might be going through a crisis, but you always dreamt of a particular lifestyle. It’s attainable; don’t let your circumstances stop you from dreaming and making plans for a better tomorrow. Write it down. Take Action. It will happen. Believe.

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5. Listen To Podcasts and Surround Yourself with Positive People– There’s amazing information online that can boost your spirits to help you become a self actualized being. I don’t care if you’re having the worst day in ten years or haven’t won anything in 20 years. Entrepreneurs, Motivational Speakers, Physicists or anyone who has overcame tremendous hardships to become successful can give you hope and knowledge to help you on your journey. They have a can do spirit that’s infectious and pushes you to take on life with an assertive and cheerful manner. Then you will begin to seek positive alliances. You don’t have the time or energy to deal with negative people. Disempowering people are cancerous. They complain and drain. Empowering folks encourage you to take the leap into the unknown. They use testimonials to push you forward not to stop you from chasing your dreams. They’re genuinely happy for your success and progress.

These tips can be overwhelming, but I suggest you slowly consume the information and take a slow pace in gradually changing yourself into a new person. Don’t be impatient. As, my ex hairbraider said ‘Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day’.

Written By: Mansu Edwards

 

From Graduation to Greatness

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Hallelujah! That’s probably how you felt when you handed in your last paper and took your last final.

Flashback about 30 days ago you were in great anticipation of walking across the stage, shaking hands with the president of the college, turning your tassel and celebrating commencement with your friends, and family.

Today is different.

Graduation has come, your moment on stage has passed, and the fanfare has died down.

Reality is starting to settle in; YOU’RE FINISHED.

You’ve graduated. Congratulations.

Did you know that the word graduation has its roots and etymology with the Latin word ‘gradus’ which means to STEP toward?

Fascinating, huh?

When you graduated from college you actually stepped toward something, so my question to you is what are you stepping toward? Before you answer that question the first thing I want you to do is to stop, reflect and appreciate yourself as a college graduate. Truly embrace your inner genius, your fortitude and courage that you’ve employed to get to this point in your journey.

Trust me when I say this, you’re an anomaly.   Almost 50% of people who enter college end up dropping out, but not you.

You pushed through.

You stayed the course.

You worked two jobs, juggled an internship, stayed up late and wrote papers in the middle of the night.

Women like you are SUPER FLY or as Maya Angelou would say, “You’re a phenomenal woman.”

I’m actually gushing over your exceptional drive, your beautiful spirit and extraordinary determination, because I truly understand that your graduation is a result of grit and grace. I applaud you.

But, I want to get back to my original question, what are you stepping towards?

I strongly believe that graduation is your step towards GREATNESS.

Greatness is about being “big in size.”

Graduation is about having a degree of knowledge in a particular field of study.

Greatness is about showing up alive, full and in your true power.

Graduation is about releasing you into your new career path, completely prepared to become a practicing journalist, a remarkable teacher, a creative director, or whatever unique and innovative career path that’s calling you.

I remember the morning of my graduation. I was ridden with excitement, a tad bit nervous and totally unprepared for the dreaded question, what are you going to do next year? I had ten minutes before I had to meet my friends in the quad, but my nerves started getting the best of me, I suddenly felt a strong tingling sensation of butterflies in my stomach. I stood in the mirror, and took one last look at my room. I realized that I would be moving out within 24-hours. I looked down at my watch, and quickly sectioned out the last part of my hair, picked up the curling iron and wrapped my hair around it in attempt to get the perfect curl. I threw on my cap and gown and flew out the door. Walking across the stage was surreal for me and after receiving a bachelor’s degree, a California Clear multiple subject teaching credential and a Master’s Degree in Human Development over the past ten years, I can say with confidence that if you don’t undergird these achievements with inner greatness you’ll never become the woman that God has called you to be.

I urge you to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What am I stepping towards?
  2. How can I use my gifts to create a career filled with purpose and passion?
  3. In what ways can I show up bigger, better and bolder?

As you answer these questions, you’ll know without a shadow of a doubt what you’re stepping towards.

I commend you.

Rise

And

Shine.

Queenie Johnson, is a Female Success Brand Strategist & Mindset Mastery Maven. She is the founder of sheRISES.org and works with corporate leaders and modern women that are on mission to change the world with their God-given gifts. Her VIP coaching and business consulting clients learn how to break through their glass ceiling, unlock their hidden genius and increase their influence so that they can build a career and business they absolutely love. You can contact Queenie at queenie@sheRISES.org .

Alicia Harper, Creator of Mommy Delicious

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If superwoman was a real life character, Alicia Harper would be her. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, just like Jay- Z, Alicia “bleeds blue” but for a different reason. Receiving undergraduate and Masters’ degrees from Columbia University in the City of New York – she’s True Blue. Being educated at one of the premiere universities is just the tip of the ice burg for this phenomenal woman. Her feats also include being a dean of students at a charter elementary school, creator of her own blog, Mommy Delicious, featured writer with magazines and online publications, and of course a mommy. Alicia proves that nothing is two great for a visionary woman who has drive and determination.

Excellence was always the standard for Alicia. Being involved in foster care as a child may not have been easy but Alicia grew tough skin to manage the difficulties of life. At a young age she learned not to fail and that if she wanted more in life she would have to work hard to get it. She knew that she would have to become the author of her own destiny. And she did nothing short of it. As a high school student she was awarded a Times Scholarship recognizing her ability to overcome adversities and successfully manage hardships in life. Though she was accepted to many universities, she experienced the greatest feeling of pride when she received her final acceptance letter – from Columbia. This was her top choice and for Alicia a life changing experience.

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As a Columbia student she realized the stark differences in academic preparation when she went from being the top student at her own high school to struggling with the academic rigor of an Ivy league university. Like the Superwoman she is, she worked hard to excel at Columbia – and of course she did. Beyond the academic differences Alicia was able to learn first hand the social inequalities within the city she had grown up in. Though she was from New York City she soon realized the many cultural and social experiences in Manhattan that her friends were afforded growing up and she was not.  She took it upon herself to be reintroduced to her hometown and enjoyed city life with a new lens.

A woman whose personal and professional are connected – her formative experiences at Columbia would later inform her professional pursuits. As a college student Alicia had completed several independent studies working with schools in Harlem and Brooklyn. She realized that she was not alone in her own academic experiences and become interested in the achievement gap. She wondered why some students have more resources and better schools than others.

After graduating from Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in psychology she decided to pursue a career in education. Alicia became a part of the NYC teaching fellows program where she taught third and fifth grade. Observing her classroom, Alicia became aware that her students had little interest in learning until their psychological needs were met. She built rapport with them and learned that they did want to learn and had big dreams – only they had personal issues that needed to be dealt with before they could focus in school. From these experiences Alicia felt that she could be more effective if she tackled the achievement gap from a different perspective.Alicia4

Alicia chose to pursue her Masters degrees in psychological counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University. She was not only a loyal Columbian and New Yorker, but was also drawn to the program for its commitment to multiculturalism and premiere faculty with which she would have an opportunity to learn from.

All of Alicia’s educational and life experiences connected to make her the perfect candidate for the Dean of Students at a local elementary charter school that services students in grades K-4. Alicia works directly under her principle to manage teachers and help them to help their students. Her work includes collaborating with teachers to develop lesson plans using multiple instruction methods and effectively managing student behaviors. Her job is to bridge the gap between passing state mandated tests, supporting the psychological and emotional development of children and staff, maintaining a positive school environment, and developing programs to sustain these efforts. Alicia asserts that the most rewarding aspect of her job is that she gets to help so many students directly and indirectly through consulting with teachers, staff, and parents.

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As if that wasn’t enough, Alicia is also Mommy Number 1 to a “rambunctious” 6-year-old son – Aiden. Life as a single mom may not be easy but Alicia manages it with style, grace, and a whole lot of love. Alicia is able to manage mommydom in addition to her professional obligations by prioritizing – a method that has admittedly kept her sane. She describes having a routing for both her and Aiden that supports his growth and development including participation in activities of his choice and also allows her to be a successful career woman and person! Of course she always makes time for mommy-son time including fun weekend activities exploring New York City together and awesome vacation getaways. Alicia enjoys the opportunity for them both to enjoy first time experiences with each other. She also acknowledges how her and Aiden have grown together – a blessing for them both.

Alicia has become more comfortable in her role as mommy, some of which might be attributed to her decision a few years ago to give her own life new meaning. She had always dreamed of becoming a freelance writer and as a new mom actively began to think about how she might do this. While in the gym she decided to create her own blog as a way to express herself. Though mommydom was an experience that she knew first hand she did not want that to be the sole focus. Motherhood was one of her roles but not her only one, so she used her blog to be more interpersonal.

Alicia created Mommy Delicious – a coming of age blog about her life including mommydom and womanhood. Alicia uses this space to honestly share her life and experiences from multiple angles – highlighting herself as a well-rounded woman. There is not a topic that is off limits as long as she has had enough time to mature and grow from it and can effectively tell her story with clarity and purpose. Interestingly, what started off as an opportunity to emote and share her story turned into a delicious cult following. Alicia knew she had something special after being invited to exciting events not only in New York City but also on vacations across the country. Her passion turned into even bigger opportunities where she is now able to run a successful blogging business as well as lend her writing chops to other celebrated publications – an experience she could have only dreamed of several years prior. Despite her writing success, the best part of her blog is when she receives positive feedback from readers who share her experience or feel inspired by her story.

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At Dirty Thirty Alicia’s accomplishments are nothing shy of phenomenal. Describing herself as strong, sensitive, and sweet she has overcome many obstacles to reach her goals  – making her the ultimate U Blush Woman. And it ain’t over yet. In the next ten years Alicia hopes to continue to be a blessing to other people by doing her current work but on a larger scale. These goals include writing a regular column on a larger platform, publishing her own book, teaching as an adjunct college instructor, and opening her own school.

Alicia’s source of inspiration is her faith and knowing that “God will never leave or forsake me.” Aiden, the special boy in her life, always motivates her that anything is possible and keeps her striving for better. She reminds readers that “overnight success” is rarely over night. You have to work hard even when no one is looking; your day will come. In pursuit of excellence Alicia asserts, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” A method that has brought her to the level of success she stands at now by never giving up even when the odds were stacked against her. For her, empowerment means “unapologetically going after what you want and know is right even if you are the only person doing it” – a quote with which she obviously lives by.

Memory Combat

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Memory Combat: How to Keep Your Memory Function Intact

I am “Super Woman,” I can do ALL things.  As we women try to take on the world, competing with our male counterparts, and overloading ourselves with multiple extra-curricular activities, we fail to realize we are straining a very important asset “Our Memory.”

I remember back in 2004, when I started interning at LA Weekly. I was chatting with my assigned mentor and I mentioned that I was finding it difficult to remember certain things and organize my thoughts.  My mentor then said it may be because I was overstressed.  At that time, I worked 30+ hours at a call-center, attended school full-time and was finding time here and there to intern.   Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which way was up, and I never really looked into the whole “Stress=Memory loss” concept.

Here I am today, a working single mother, mental health and fashion writer, and on occasion wardrobe consultant, and you guessed it…still dealing with a stressed memory.  So, I have decided to finally bring to light the true causes of stress related memory loss.

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First off, the term “Stress” is a derivative of “Distress,” which means to draw or pull apart.  Think about it, when you are under stressful circumstances such as: a work deadline, on top of running a household and trying to plan a social event for you and your girlfriends, you could feel like you are being “pulled apart.” When you are under stress, your body reacts by secreting stress hormones, Cortisol and Epinephrine, into the bloodstream.  Over secretion of stress hormones most frequently affects memory negatively.

Since we as women have times of “Hormonal Imbalances,” lapses in memory or foggy thinking are common.  When a woman’s hormones are functioning normally, estrogen levels help regulate cortisol levels which affect the function of neurotransmitters (chemicals used for communication) in your brain. As estrogen levels decline, as is common in perimenopause, the estrogen no longer properly controls the cortisol. As a result, neurotransmitters begin to malfunction, creating these lapses in memory, as sited.   There are ways to combat this imbalance for both the over-stressed and pre-menopausal woman.

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*See a Physician – Do not rely on self – diagnosis, it’s best to speak with a doctor about your memory concerns.  I suggest keeping a journal that contains vital information such as: types of things you forget, your diet, your sleep patterns and your daily activities, all these things play apart in adding stress.

*Eat Brain Foods- Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain,” lists brain foods that promote healthier brain activity: Blueberries, Wild Salmon, Nuts and seeds, Avocados and Whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice are branded as “smart’ foods, with the abilities to increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain/memory.

*There’s An App for that – In the age of the “Smart Phone,” there are Apps for everything, including memory games.  Lumosity is known for its brain training games and there are many  other Apps to choose from that will get your memory back in tip top shape.

*Get those Zzz’s – According to the National Institutes of Health, “sleep is important for storing memories.”  The article, “How Sleep Clears the Brain,” also states that sleep has a restorative function, and that the lack of sleep impairs reasoning, problem solving, and attention to detail.

Now I can go on with more information about how to fight against stress related memory loss, but the key is to treat your brain like your body: Exercise it, Nourish it, give it rest and you stand the chance of at least being able to find your  car keys in the morning.

Written By Ricki Jae. Morris: “Since of Style Need Not Make Sense,” is her motto.  This Southern Cali Girl is not opposed to standing out in the name of Fashion & Art. As a mother of a 4-year old daughter, she strives to set an example of “Success with Class,” by always being a lady and staying true to self.  In her spare time, Ricki Jae. Blogs about Fashion Designers and Events.

 

A Rise in Plastic Surgery

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Chade Nix, 27, clicked on various websites surveying the different options of plastic surgeons near her Marietta, Georgia home. As she studies the ‘before and after’ photos from different surgical procedures, she glances at the reflection of her almond shaped eyes, high cheek bones and protruding lips. Nix expresses her excitement at the idea of a possible consultation regarding which of her own physical features could possibly be altered or enhanced to achieve her idea of perfection.

“Women want to be pretty, and whatever that look is, that’s what they want to be,” said Nix. “If this means being an over-processed blonde, or a long wavy brunette, a refined nose or ears pinned back. Whatever will make you reach that pillar of success or at least look the part.”

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RISE IN NUMBERS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2013 statistics indicate a rise since 2012 in the most common procedures of breast augmentations, eyelid surgeries, facelifts, Botox injections, chemical peels and soft tissue fillers.

“Cosmetic surgery has evolved,” said Nix, who feels surgery is no longer as controversial as it was 10 years ago. “Cosmetic surgery now is like scheduling a routine Pap smear. Being ‘au naturel’ is overrated”.

“The rise in numbers is primarily due to the new innovative, minimally-invasive procedures,” said Adeena Badditt, ASPS director of public relations. “Botox became the number one non-surgical procedure and led to fillers, lasers procedures, and all types of new treatments. New technology means new less invasive procedures that people feel more comfortable with.”

“There are two populations of consumers,” said Dr. Edward Farrior, Tampa Florida plastic surgeon. “Younger people are usually coming in to address an unattractive feature. Typically, the older people are perfectly well adjusted with the skeletal characteristic of their face; they just don’t want to look older. There’s always been that dichotomy in the two populations of consumers.”

The conceived benefits of these surgeries include improved self-esteem, enhancing social lives, and even heightening careers. “Self-esteem certainly impacts someone’s ability to perform at work. Cosmetic surgery is known to enhance that,” said Farrior. “So if someone has a distracting feature – a weak chin, a prominent nose – and they address that distraction, when they’re having meetings with people, they’re not concerned with how they look because they know they look good.”

The Facial Plastic Surgery & Reconstructive Surgery Academy has indicated that two-thirds of men and women requested cosmetic surgery because of competition in the workforce where emotional confidence was directly related to better performance, often amplifying success.

Nix considers plastic surgery an investment in personal success and happiness. “Enhancement of one’s career, social status, or love life is kinda the point of well, life”.

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PATIENTS GETTING YOUNGER

Advancements in technology also have influenced a rise among teens who seek to go under the knife. In 2011, plastic surgery in teens accounted for over 131,000 procedures. Recent ASPS statistics reveal that over 160,000 patients between the ages of 13-19 opting for minimally invasive cosmetic surgery throughout 2012.

“I don’t like my boobs. They make me look like I’m 12,” said Long Island high school student, Kira Palmer, 16. Palmer is one of many young girls who feels that enhancement of her cup size would make her more content with her appearance. “I’m still an A [cup], it’s bad”. While Palmer has no immediate intention to alter her looks, she understands the allure. “Plastic surgery is a personal preference. I don’t really see a problem with it”.

“Kids, kids meaning people under 18, are beginning to feel surgery is an option for them whereas, ten years ago, very few teens considered it,” said psychologist Vivian Diller Ph.D. “Now we’re seeing an increase in request for many other surgical procedures including breast reduction and breast enhancement.”

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IMPACTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

A recent 2014 AAFPRS study indicated that one in three facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in requests for procedures due to social media, attributing increased photo sharing to the dissatisfaction patients have with their own image.

Reports revealed in 2013, more than half of surveyed facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectable in those under age 30.

“If you look at what social media has done with both the way we present ourselves, and with the success of younger people, the perception is in order to remain competitive you have to look young and engaged in more timely appearance,” said Farrior.

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PROCEDURES MORE AFFORDABLE 

Plastic surgery isn’t exclusively for celebs anymore. The recent change in affordability and availability of financing allows those of limited income to afford this luxury.

“Cosmetic surgery is very sensitive to the state of the economy and so when the economy took a downturn, the prices came down. It’s very market sensitive,” said Farrior.

Health insurance may cover some of the cost depending on the procedure. Under the law, breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is covered by health insurance. A deviated septum can, at times be a justifiable reason for rhinoplasty coverage. However, if the purpose of the surgery is intended only to improve physical appearance, no coverage is offered.

Surgical procedures and pricing are discussed during consultations, with all fees reviewed. During this time, financing options are also discussed. These options enable those with average or limited incomes to pay for surgical procedures over a period of time. Popular financing companies include American Benefit Credit, Chase Health Advance, Cosmetic Surgery Financing, and Health One Financial, each offering different revolving lines of credit and interest rates based on individual credit scores.

“Financing makes it better,” said Astoria, Queens resident Elizabeth Garcia, 24. “It’s more affordable. I wouldn’t think twice now about wanting to get something done. If I wanted [a procedure], I would just put it on a credit card.”

Less recovery time has also led many to think more favorably towards plastic surgery. Non – invasive procedures are also more isolated allowing surgeons to perform major operations without large incisions. The use of new technology such as lasers, results in less pain, minimal scarring, and a speedy recovery allowing the patient to return work sooner.

“Having any downtime can cost you your job these days”, said Garcia who considers the quick recovery a significant perk of the new advanced procedures. “Now you can get a little nip/tuck on Friday and be back to work by Monday. Talk about convenient.”

Written By Janurie Ulett: Hailing from quaint suburbia, Long Island meets the fabulousness of NYC. With a Bachelors degree in journalism from Brooklyn College, Janurie’s passion for writing comes naturally, fueling her career as a health and fitness freelance journalist. Her signature flair can be described as 19th-century English meets modern day Dear Abby as she faithfully satisfies her readers’ appetites, one word at a time.

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